Paul Elisha: Postage Paid

Oct 9, 2012

In one of his earliest books: “Cakes And Ale,” W. Somerset Maugham observed that hypocrisy cannot be practiced part-time, in one’s spare moments.  “Hypocrisy,” he said, “is a whole-time job.”  Back in the days when icons were authentic and worth quoting, one of the greatest was Martin Luther, who bemoaned the fact that “Truth goes begging, while hypocrisy finds ample wages.”  It’s an adage that’s still true, especially in the political arena, where the worst of that ilk continue to operate with impunity.

This observer, who takes pride in a well honed ability as a spotter, didn’t even have to go looking for the flagrant example, that was delivered to his door-step, by a faithful mini-trucker of the U.S. Mail.  And there, in the upper-right-hand corner, where you and I have to put a stamp we pay for, was that printed “U.S. Potage Paid” stamp of the N.Y. State Senate… that we still have to pay for.

What rankled was the second-hand, stale material enclosed; only now, overtly re-construed to promote the re-election of the sender: Senator Hugh Farley.  What  rankled even more is the Senator’s rank hypocrisy, in recopying data already collected and published by the State Controller’s Office and sending it to constituents, as important stuff, that he’s revealing for their benefit.  The capper is… he’s having them pick up the tab for reprinting and mailing it.

In truth, Senator Farley’s not the only culprit working this scam.  Just about every one of his colleagues pulls the same shoddy con, now and then.  But ‘frugal Farley’ is the State Senate’s shrillest stickler for the reduction of Government spending.  And what’s the stuff he’s taking credit for?  Unclaimed funds in banks, insurance companies and utilities, etc. … 12-billion bucks worth, he says, and all we have to do to find out if any of it’s ours, is to call the State Controller’s Office… which publicized it in the first place.  Why reprint and send us second-hand news at our expense?  To remind us how much the Senator does to save us money, he’s really costing us.  It’s a slick way to carry on a political campaign at the taxpayers’ expense.

The real deception, though, is that both houses of New York’s State Legislature have gotten away with spending millions of taxpayer dollars without revealing a cent of the actual cost.  It’s a new way of public financing, not just for campaigns but much more, without ever having to report how much or what for.  To be frank, it’s the ultimate con and the ‘frank’ in the right-hand corner of every piece of legislative mail, is the tip-off that New York taxpayers are paying the bill.

What makes this con doubly expensive and offensive is the ultimate hypocrisy, at which Sen. Hugh Farley has succeeded; without ever having to shed his free-loading hypocrite’s false face.

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